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The Penn Board of Trustees at president Liz Magill's inauguration on Oct. 21, 2022. Credit: Jesse Zhang

This story is developing and will continue to be updated.

Vahan Gureghian will resign from the Penn Board of Trustees in protest of University leadership, he announced following a special meeting of the board on Friday.

“Like so many elite academic institutions, the leadership of UPenn has failed us through an embrace of antisemitism, a failure to stand for justice, and complete negligence in the defense of its own students’ well being,” Gureghian wrote in a statement.

Gureghian said his decision to step down was a result of Penn's response to the Palestine Writes Literature Festival, which faced criticism by some campus and national Jewish groups for speakers facing allegations of antisemitism. 

Gureghian was first appointed to Penn's board in 2009 as a non-elected trustee by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, representing the interests of 13 million residents, he said. He has served his current term since 2021.

“I can no longer report back to these constituents that UPenn is acting in their best interest," he wrote.

In response to a request for comment, University Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok said he regretted Gureghian's "decision to step down" and looked forward to working with the General Assembly's next appointee to the Board of Trustees.

Bok also reiterated the University's condemnation of antisemitism, a central complaint of the donors and trustees who have called for Bok and Penn President Liz Magill to resign.

"The University vehemently condemns the atrocious terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel and unequivocally rejects antisemitism in all forms, everywhere it exists," Bok wrote. "We stand with our Jewish students, faculty, staff, and alumni and with Jewish people all over the world."

Gureghian is the founder and CEO of CSMI, an education consulting company that operates charter schools in Chester, Pa. and Galloway Township, NJ. He received a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Villanova University and a J.D. from Delaware Law School, according to CSMI’s website.

In 2019, the ex-principal of a New Jersey charter school principal managed by CSMI said she was terminated after bringing forward concerns about "illegal practices at the school" including "illegal deductions" and the misrepresentation of data, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.